The dates for public hearings on quality education were announced. More than a thousand submissions had been received and all needed to be considered.
The Department of Basic Education (the Department) gave three presentations to the Committee. Schooling 2025 was an initiative to improve the standard of basic education. There were a number of objectives and goals. Key indicators were identified by which progress could be measured. Fifteen outputs were described. A major concern was the standard of literacy and numeracy. It was important that there be a supply of well-qualified new teachers. Standard lesson plans to improve literacy and numeracy had been developed for Grades 1 to 6. Workbooks had been produced which would be linked to the lesson plans. These had been written in English but would be translated into all official languages. These should be available in schools before the end of the year.
The backlog of infrastructure had to be addressed. A tripartite arrangement between National Treasury, the Development Bank of South Africa and the provincial education departments had been facilitated to provide funding for upgrades. The most important was that all schools should have the basic facilities of water, sanitation and electricity. A provincial spread and statistics were provided. It was emphasised that all the issues were to some extent linked, and the Department was attempting to address the most urgent needs.
Members were told that it was not possible to set a target of 100% for literacy and numeracy. The targets set were realistic but challenging, and Members asked whether they were incremental, and when the missing figures would be provided. Members noted the changing patterns of migration within the country which affected the planning of schools. The position of the provinces was discussed, including whether they would be able to borrow to fund future infrastructure projects. Another concern was the funding for maintenance, which was often carried by the School Governing Bodies. Members questioned the small budget for infrastructure, and were told that there was no provision to repair or replace losses sustained due to vandalism. Members questioned whether the clusters were working effectively enough, whether the infrastructure plans took into account the backlog, and noted that there was a need to have the communities more actively involved. The minimum age for school entry was discussed. The Department was satisfied that seven was the best age although a younger child could be considered if he or she was able to demonstrate the ability to cope with the work. The importance of Grade R education was stressed. Members questioned whether the incentive scheme for rural schools was working, and what the Department was planning to address the issues. It was stressed that administrative support was key and that the Department was working on the challenges. Members were interested in how learners would be assessed, and discussed the grade 12 matric science paper on 2009. The Chairperson commented that experienced teachers should be asked to evaluate the workbooks, and called for a report on the tender and how the books would be distributed. Members also discussed mother-tongue teaching, public perceptions on schools performances, a list of the schools chosen for the pilot project, and commented that regular updates were needed.
Chairperson’s opening remarks
The Chairperson said that the Committee would try to build on issues raised at the workshops. 1200 submissions had been received for the public hearings, which would be held in phases. Unfortunately it would not be possible to schedule an entire week for the hearings. The first phase would be for oral submissions from parties who had made also made written submissions on which the Committee needed more clarity. Some of the written submissions were comprehensive and clear so that no oral submissions would be needed from those parties. Four or six days were available and all submissions would be considered. Certain of the recommendations could already be taken up by the Department of Basic Education (DBE). Members would have to read all the submissions.
Mr Llewelyn Brown, Committee Secretary, said that he had applied for the dates for the public hearings. The dates given were 12, 18, 19 and 20 May and 1 and 2 June. He had applied for full days on each of these dates. There was a problem with 20 May, since, if Members had to attend caucus meetings, the Committee would only be able to sit in that afternoon.
The Chairperson said that the Auditor General's performance audit would be discussed on 11 May. She would compile a list of the presenters for the public hearings. She urged Members to attend the full programme despite their other commitments.
The Chairperson congratulated the new Director-General (DG) of the Department of Basic Education (DBE) on his appointment.
Department of Basic Education (DBE) briefings
Mr Bobby Soobrayan, Director General, Department of Basic Education, gave the presentation on the Schooling 2025 project. He noted that further presentations were to be given on workbooks and the accelerated infrastructure development plan, in which two key interventions would be made.
The Minister had announced an action plan for education. Schooling 2025 was the result of this. The President and the Minister had signed a performance agreement. There was consultation between the Minister and the provincial Members of the Executive Council (MECs) responsible for education. The people were happy with the direction being followed. More development plans would be compiled by the end of the week, after which the plan would be made available for public comment.
Mr Soobrayan said that DBE was clear about the outputs. There would be a consolidation of existing public commitments. The aim was not to put a new layer on top of the existing priorities but to identify strategic priorities. These would have a substantial impact on the quality of education. The purpose of the plan was to improve the school system. It was based on the need for long-term planning. There would be outcomes and outputs and a clear plan. To date the DBE had not had a plan, but Schooling 2025 would provide an integrated plan for which the sector could be held to account.
Mr Soobrayan said that the plan would be dynamic. There would be a mixture of top-down and bottom-up approaches. There was a tendency to choose easy targets. Plans had to be realistic. There was a need for policy stability. It was DBE's job to deliver, and it would succeed by implementing its policy. Monitoring would be sector-wide. Measurable outputs were needed otherwise reports would have to be based on anecdotal evidence. The plan would enhance monitoring capacity.
Mr Soobrayan said that the last dimension was the communication of strategy. While the plan was delivering the strategy, parents also had to be informed of their rights and obligations. These had to be communicated properly. This would inspire confidence in the system. Exactly the right amount of information had to be given.
He listed the fifteen outputs of the plan. These covered two broad aspects. One aspect covered the improvement of learning outcomes and the other covered improved access to education. There were 45 goals associated with the outputs. Each goal had a target indicator. They covered the period up to 2025 and would indicate where the system was going. It was important to realise that the plan also included five year horizons and a one-year set of targets. The five year period was significant as it covered the term of government. It was a reasonable period for the assessment of delivery. Targets were generally an aggregation of targets within each province.
Mr Soobrayan said that so much was being spent because it was important to communicate the plan to the public. There was a huge inequality between achievement and spending. It was important to see what was happening at the poor end of the distribution scale. He wanted to see an improvement in literacy and numeracy. It was important to set targets which were realistic but still challenging. By 2014, the target was to have 60% of Grade 3 learners credibly literate and with numeracy skills. Targets would be defined by good solid data. He wanted to see benchmarks in place to compare achievements in South Africa to other countries.
An Annual National Assessment (ANA) would be crucial in monitoring the achievement of targets. There were four mechanisms at play. Teachers would have access to better standards and means of assessment. Provinces would be able to devote their efforts to improving conditions at the right schools. Schools that promoted achievement would be recognised. Finally, outcomes would be addressed in a more informed manner with school governing bodies (SGBs). This latter mechanism was one of the most powerful as parents could call the school to account. It would be possible to identify those areas where schools were under-performing. Schools could not be rewarded for one-off achievements.
Mr Soobrayan said that the success of certain schools was often due to them only accepting learners of high academic calibre who could easily be taken to a higher level. Some schools would not accept learners who were liable to fail. There was a question of how results should be distributed. This should be done publicly and should be broken down into various categories such as by quantile. The value of publishing results to the level of individual schools had to be assessed carefully. Similar thought should be given to the publication of Grade 12 results. Assessments would be set by the DBE.
Mr Soobrayan said that DBE should take stock of where South Africa found itself in a global contest. South Africa would participate in TIMSS 2011 and SACMEQ 2012. The current ratings were low. Projections of improvement were a tough call but it was critical for the country to advance.
Mr Soobrayan said that it was important to keep children in the school system until the age of fifteen. The quality of education would be enhanced by increasing numbers of children being enrolled in Grade R. While there were encouraging numbers of learners in the school system it was important to ensure that there was an acceptable quality of education. Grade R was an important tool. It was important to get more children enrolled in the Grade R programmes at State schools which were often better resourced than private institutions. There was a diversity of options. The role of basic education was to prepare children for entering the sphere of higher education.
He said that the outer figure of grade repetition should be no more than 5%. The ANA would enable better tracking of these children. Children should also not be held back to improve ANA figures. Enrolment at Further Education and Training (FET) Colleges should be viewed holistically.
Mr Soobrayan presented a framework which illustrated the basic education system. Government, the DBE and parents all had a role to play. He outlined some interventions. One vital component was the supply of new teachers. The right people had to be recruited. There were promising signs at present as many talented matriculants were choosing teaching as a career. It was still important to ensure the proper distribution of teachers. If not, there would still be overcrowding and the tendency of teachers to be used for the wrong subjects would continue.
The DG continued that teacher development was a huge challenge. The DBE was busy with a plan that should be completed by June 2010. This project was going well. It would make a difference to teacher accountability.
Mr Soobrayan said that school governance was a key predictor. Funding for schools was not being used optimally. Another important area was learner well-being. The DBE was working with the Department of Health. There should be access to clinical health services to cater for both physical and psychological health. Early diagnosis of problems was essential. The DBE was looking to provide more inclusive education although there were funding challenges. The support of district offices was becoming more important. Details of the population should be included in the report.
Development of Workbooks
Mr Edward Mosuwe, Acting Deputy Director General: Curriculum, DBE, presented on the pillars of the concept of Foundation For Learning (FFL). The two pillars were Evidence, and Support, which comprised documents and training. There was a triangular relationship between learning, teaching and assessment. Workbooks fell within the pillar of Support.
Mr Mosuwe said that DBE placed a high priority on literacy and numeracy skills. Achievement of high quality learning should be measured against contextual factors. The levels of achievement in literacy and numeracy should be monitored periodically. An observation from the 2009 ANA was that there was a slight improvement in literacy and numeracy levels at Grade 3 standard. He presented five major predictors of performance. In terms of teaching practices the shortfall was 59% and for the language of learning and teaching it was 49%. There was a movement towards mother tongue education. In terms of school resources the gap was 49%, for access to learning materials 28% and for time-on-task 20%.
Mr Mosuwe said that the FFL programme was to identify core materials such as workbooks and readers. There was a question of how the teaching of phonics could be supported. There needed to be an assessment framework to assist teachers. The progress of learners could be assessed. Lesson plans had been developed for Grades 1 to 6 which would be aligned to the curriculum. These would assist teaching and assessment. Workbooks would intensify the support for teachers and learners. The workbooks would be informed by key knowledge and skill requirements. The purpose was to provide quality activities. Learners would have a better opportunity to engage in the learning process.
Mr Mosuwe said that some schools lacked basic resources such as photocopying facilities. The workbooks would serve as a model of good practice for teachers. Teachers would be better able to monitor the performance of learners and to prepare them for assessment.
Mr Mosuwe said that there would be two workbooks for each Grade. One would be for literacy and the other for numeracy skills. Learners would therefore be exposed to twelve workbooks during the time in Grades 1 to 6. They would be linked to the lesson plans. The books had been written in English but were being translated into the other ten official languages. He gave a detailed breakdown of the number of workbooks which would be required in each grade for the different languages.
Mr Mosuwe said that there was a view of the need to develop the capacity of the system. In time teachers and district officials would able to improve the efficiency of the system. Curriculum experts had been appointed to develop the workbooks. Various non-government organisations had been involved. Delivery would take up to five months, with the first workbooks being delivered to schools by September 2010. An important aspect was the strong monitoring process to be followed. Workbooks would be one of several key components.
Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery Initiative
Mr Solly Mafoko, Director: Physical Resources Planning, DBE, said that the most basic requirements for a school to be functional were water and sanitation. The first intervention was to accelerate delivery of these services. The budget had been increased but it was still not enough. There was a list of 5 640 schools which still faced basic challenges. This was the highest priority. The DBE was verifying the list with the provinces. For example, the number of schools in this position in Limpopo was found to be 777 and not 702, while in Mpumalanga the figure of 505 had been reduced to 192. There was a similar problem in KwaZulu-Natal.
Mr Mafoko said that the Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI) had been put in place to address the matter. As there was still not enough funding in the budget there would have to be some loan funding. There were plans for the current financial year and medium term expenditure framework (MTEF). Provincial infrastructure development would continue while the ASIDI progressed. The provincial infrastructure plan would provide for new schools, the maintenance of existing schools, provision of laboratories, administrative buildings and sports fields.
Mr Mafoko said that there was a task team at DBE and senior task teams at provincial level. ASIDI would deal with clusters of schools in order to achieve economy of scale. Feeder schools would be targeted. This would enable ASIDI to benefit more learners.
Mr Mafoko said that DBE wished to see a standard design for schools. This would facilitate the tender process. It wished to see a rapid mobilisation of major contractors. Alternate technology and delivery systems would be considered. Bulk tenders could be used. Medium sized contractors could handle the smaller projects. Experienced construction managers would oversee building projects. Experienced programme and project managers would be brought in. Private/public partnerships would be formed. The DBE would act as an implementing agent. All aspects of project management would be overseen by professional service managers reporting to DBE.
Mr Mafoko said that the DBE had discussed the plan with National Treasury (NT). The plan was to form a tripartite arrangement between NT, the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) and the provincial education departments. They were developing a funding model.
Mr Mafoko said that there four provinces where there was a critical need for this programme. These were Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga. The biggest backlogs were in these provinces. A development implementation plan was needed. It was critical to ensure that no school was without water, sanitation and electricity. All unsafe structures had to be eliminated.
Mr Soobrayan said that the workbook scheme was strongly linked to teacher development. Initiatives often failed when they were seen as separate ventures. The impact was felt in the classroom. The workbooks were being translated into all official languages. Capability had to be created. Knowledge must reside in the system. Text books were also needed. Age appropriate readers had to be provided. Half of the backlogs were being experienced in Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. DBE was trying to accelerate the process of addressing the backlogs. Innovation was important. DBE would work closely with the schools. Migration between provinces and from rural to urban areas was a problem. There was also an impact from local politics. The DBE had a lot to spend, but this had to be done in the correct place.
Mr J Lorimer (DA) asked for the presentation to be made available in a digital version.
Ms F Mushwana (ANC) said the goal for literacy and numeracy skills in the Schooling 2025 was 90%. She asked if any further improvement would be expected.
The Chairperson questioned the use of percentages in the goals. She asked about the number of learners who had acquired the necessary skills. A standard of achievement should be set.
Mr Soobrayan replied that the DBE had looked at different countries in determining the targets for literacy and numeracy. It could set a target of 100%, but this had not happened in any other country. A particular blockage to such a vision would be the situation of children with special needs.
The Chairperson asked if the targets were incremental.
Mr Soobrayan replied that they were. There would not be a linear progression.
Ms N Gina (ANC) questioned the figures that were missing in the targets. There were some instances where question marks had been included in the presentation.
Mr Soobrayan replied that the DBE still needed to do some work to populate the database. Umalusi had been tasked to review the results of Science in the Grade 12 examinations of 2009, and any decision to review the marks obtained would influence the figures used as a baseline.
The Chairperson said that this had been an aberration. She asked if funding would be made available so that provinces could borrow against future infrastructure projects. She asked what had been allocated and what the time scales were. It would be good to get an early start.
Mr Soobrayan replied that it was possible. The DBE and NT would facilitate this. Bridging funds would be available for the MTEF. NT would take a conservative approach. Future budgets had already been committed. It would be easier working with MTEF funding. The DBSA would structure this funding as soft loans. When government funding became available it would go straight to DBSA to repay the loan.
The Chairperson asked if the provinces were committed.
Mr Soobrayan replied that they were. They would not take out the local economic imperatives. Provinces would be the owners of the schools while DBE would facilitate the process. The Minister had little power to intervene in this regard. She wanted to play a role in the planning. Norms and standards would be set. Different provinces would have different priorities. There was movement at provincial level.
The Chairperson asked how many schools were involved and their location. The trend towards urbanisation had not been considered. She was surprised that Gauteng was not on the needy provinces list because of the overcrowding. This must be a problem.
Mr Soobrayan agreed that one of the biggest challenges was migration. To a large extent this was unpredictable. Schools were built based on poor information. The more significant shift at present was from urban to peri-urban areas. There was also an issue of township residents sending their children to schools in different areas. There was an issue of quality. There was a need to link policy to information. Perhaps having multi-grade teaching was a possibility. An interesting development was that hostels in Gauteng were open to learners from various schools instead of being part of a particular school.
The Chairperson said that there was a lot of talk about infrastructure. The budget was only 50%. She asked what was happening with maintenance. Often the School Governing Bodies (SGB) had to raise the finance for maintenance.
Mr Soobrayan said the DBE had realised this as far back as 1999. They did not always succeed in this task. Small maintenance was carried out on a routine basis. Money was allocated to the schools and this was working well in most cases. Major maintenance was a different matter. There was a burden of maintenance resulting from vandalism, overcrowding and poor initial construction.
Mr Lorimer said that a school in his constituency had two laboratories. Both of these had been destroyed by vandals. He asked if these would be replaced. He also asked if the equitable share formula would be used.
Ms A Mda (COPE) noted that there would be sector-wide monitoring. She asked which issues would enjoy the greatest focus. Monitoring was a normal function of government. It seemed that monitoring would not cascade to the lowest levels or talk to the plan. She asked if the DBE intended to review its stance on the minimum age for starting school. This was currently set at seven years. She asked if it was not time to review this, perhaps lowering the minimum age to five.
Ms Gina said that there were flaws in the balance. She asked if there had been any consultative process or change of policy. She asked if the ANAs had revealed any children staying in the same phase for more than four years. In terms of school funding, the Section 21 schools were being frustrated. She noted that it was hard to attract teachers to the rural areas. Allowances were being paid. She asked what the connection was between the FFL and workbooks. These should be written simply. She asked how they would be introduced to the teachers.
Mr N Kganyago (UDM) was satisfied that there was concern for the well-being of learners. The emphasis on the availability of psychological services was a step in the right direction. It was not just a matter of conducting psychometric tests. Staff should also pick up any problems at an early stage. He was looking forward to remedial interventions being brought back. This was needed. The problem of literacy should be addressed from another angle.
Mr Z Makhubele (ANC) said that policy should only be static if it could stand the test of time. He asked what impact it would have on the project. In most rural areas the SGBs had little capacity. Infrastructure plans of provinces and the national department were not talking to each other. There was a discrepancy in the numbers presented. Things were not happening at ground level.
Ms Mushwana realised that the clusters were in place but could not understand how effectively these could be administered in the absence of an effective task team. Most rural schools did not have the luxury of administrative blocks. Often they had to make use of one of the classrooms. She asked if this budget phase would include the provision of water. She noted that the plans only covered Grades 1 to 6 and Grades 8 to 12 and asked what was happening with Grade 7. This was still part of the intermediate phase.
Mr Soobrayan replied that infrastructure allocations were based on the backlog. NT was informed by the school register of needs. This was a provincial issue. He admitted that DBE did not have the money to replace stolen equipment. The primary objective was for the community to take ownership of its school. This would prevent a crisis from developing.
Mr Lorimer asked why sufficient security was not in place before capital investments were made.
Mr Soobrayan replied that fences and burglar bars were in place but did not seem to help. Human security was needed. Communities taking ownership was the only real way to prevent vandalism. A culture of returning equipment such as library books also had to be fostered. The current system of monitoring was not working well. There was a lack of clearly defined objectives. The DBE would be in a much better position now that targets had been set and expertise was in place.
Mr Soobrayan said that the minimum age of seven for school entry had been introduced in 1997/98. This had resulted in court action. The policy was now that children would generally be admitted at the age of seven. However, a child of six could be admitted if the parents could prove that the child was ready to attend school. The age of admission to grade R was six, unless a child could be proved to be competent at the age of five. Many experts had agreed that the age of academic and emotional readiness for admission to school was seven. Many countries had revised their age of admission to seven. The DBE might need to fix the wording. It was not a policy change but there was a policy gap regarding Grade R. At some schools the Grade 1 teaching assumed that the children had completed Grade R.
Ms Mda cited the example of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), which set certain age limits for certain categories of training. The age of entry would influence the child's career choices in the future.
Mr Soobrayan agreed that it was an important issue.
The Chairperson said it might be better to raise this issue with the SANDF. Requirements at a later stage of life should not influence the starting age. All children were at different levels. They should be ready when they entered the school system.
Mr Soobrayan said that the incentive scheme for rural schools was not working. There were many cases where teachers at rural schools still lived in urban areas and made the long commute to their schools. The distribution of rural teachers was a continuing problem. The DBE was looking at rural housing incentives. He noted that even some of the private schools were failing. The ANA was linked to existing policy. The allocation of funds for Section 21 schools was a problem. The success of the FFL programme depended on workbooks and the curriculum being developed together.
He said that the DBE desired to make interventions to improve the well-being of learners, and was looking at how to do this. Policy statements would guide the approach. In the provinces the key was administrative support. This was the first common plan for education. It followed best international practice. It was a definite challenge to have strong SGBs. The DBE was working on this.
Mr Mafoko commented on the composition of the ASIDIS team. Reporting would come from district level. The provision of administrative blocks was a key factor. Perhaps the Member had not heard that part of the presentation. All schools must have a water supply and other basics. At the end of the strategic plan this would be provided.
Mr Mosuwe said that Grade R was often presented as part of an established primary school. Grades 8 and 9 were still part of the intermediate phase but were normally associated with a high school. The type of support provided was imperative. The ANA was conducted at the end of the year while school based assessments were conducted at other times. Both forms of assessment had to be strengthened.
The Chairperson noted that the national assessment process was school based. She asked how the learners would be assessed.
Mr Soobrayan confirmed that the ASA took place in the fourth and final term. It was linked to progress. The DBE had to be very careful in conducting the ANA in order to prevent anxiety. Teachers and principals were answerable.
The Chairperson agreed that every attempt must be made to prevent pressure.
Mr Soobrayan said that the Grade 9 assessments had been done in the first term. He wanted to see this happening in the fourth quarter.
The Chairperson quipped that it would be very nice to have stability in politics. She presumed that the DG had meant to refer to stability in policy.
Ms J Kloppers-Lourens (DA) asked who had worked on the targets. The work of scientists was creating expectations. She asked if it was the Grade 12 Science paper in 2009 or the curriculum itself that had been too difficult. Teachers were given the task of conducting assessments which led to a kind of stress. She asked why these were not conducted at a different level. Parents wanted children to attend certain schools which produced better results. Less capable learners were discouraged from enrolling at these schools. Some learners were held back in Grade 11 in anticipation that they might not pass Grade 12. Regarding the age of admission, she noted that school readiness tests had been scrapped. Guidance was needed for parents.
The Chairperson remarked that the issues raised by members were running through the submissions. A lot of work had gone into the curriculum. She accepted that experts had been used in the design of the workbooks, but felt that a small group of experienced teachers should evaluate them. This would be a worthwhile exercise even if it delayed the release of the books by two months. She asked how practical this suggestion was. She asked how the workbooks would be distributed. The model might be that the books would be given to poorer schools and sold to schools with more resources. Alternately, they might only be used at those schools which did not have access to other teaching aids. She felt that the process should be uniform.
Mr Lorimer asked if the tender had already been issued, and if so, if it was at national or provincial level.
The Chairperson asked for a report on this matter.
Ms Kloppers-Lourens asked if the exercise in curriculum development had involved certain schools and if there had been any teacher training. She quoted Ms Chibeka on the importance of mother tongue education for Grades 1 to 6. She realised that the workbooks would be translated but asked if there would be enough printed in the various mother tongues. There were not enough teachers.
Ms Mda said that the President had made education a priority for the year. She asked if action would be taken now or later.
Mr Soobrayan replied that targets had been developed on a scientific basis. DBE had looked at other countries both in Africa and beyond. The DBE did not want to be seen to be putting pressure on Umalusi, which was still the custodian of standards in education. The development of teachers could only be assessed when they hit the ground.
The Chairperson said that there were schools which had turned a trend of poor performances around, but pupils still left, due to historical perceptions.
Mr Soobrayan said that the gate-keeping role was a problem. Data had been recorded since 2001/02. The DBE was tracking the enrolment patterns in Grades 9 to 12. School readiness tests for seven year olds were no longer required. Basic education was a right which could not be withheld on the result of a test. They could, however, be used to determine what support was needed for learners. If parents wished to enrol a child of the age of six then there would have to be some demonstration of the child's readiness. Some schools were conducting tests so that children who were not deemed not to be ready could be sidelined. This was illegal. The responsibility lay with the MEC to find a place for all children.
The DG said that the DBE would guide parents. The buy-in was between 80% and 90%. Experts would be involved. There would be pilot projects at various schools. The DBE would observe how the teachers were implementing the new systems.
The Chairperson asked for a list of the schools chosen for the pilot project so that the Committee could interrogate them.
Mr Soobrayan said that the DBE had a standing contract on distribution. There was therefore no need to tender. There were a number of service providers available. The plan was to distribute the workbooks in the second half of 2010 and they would come into full use in 2011. One of the advantages of conducting this project in-house was that it could be adjusted as it was implemented.
Mr Mosuwe said that it was the clear intention of the DBE to provide the workbooks to all schools. It was a matter of internal capacity. The FFL was being implemented. All the workbooks would be produced in English and would be translated. The number of mother tongue teachers was a challenge. The DBE was targeting some areas.
The Chairperson requested more information in a written report.
Mr Kganyago said that the concept of mother tongue education worried him. He had been at many school assemblies where there had been scripture readings. Only one person in ten would be able to read fluently in his or her mother tongue while all could read fluent English.
The Chairperson said that this was more of a conundrum being raised than a comment. Experts were grappling with the mother tongue issue. There were different levels of reading and speaking fluency. She asked how cognitive development happened.
Mr Lorimer asked about accountability. He asked who would carry the can if targets were not met. He asked how delinquent MECs would be dealt with and how successful organisations would be rewarded.
Mr Soobrayan said that there was a continuous chain of responsibility at all levels.
The Chairperson said that the Committee would need regular updates. The public hearings were a preliminary issue. The Committee still needed detail on some aspects. These preliminary talks were showing what the DBE was thinking.
The meeting was adjourned.
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